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[Segye Ilbo] “Expecting a better world with blockchain-based online voting”

[Source] 2023.01.30. 1:02 am Segye Ilbo article

“Expecting a better world through blockchain-based online voting” [Sharing a cup of tea]



‘CES Innovation Award’ Oh Hyun-ok, CEO of zkrypto


In-house development service ‘zkVoting’

“Technology used in cryptocurrency trading

Strengthen anonymity and verifiability by applying voting

Discussing collaboration with an American audition pro”

Focus on technology to solve global challenges

“Expectation to contribute to the realization of various political forms”


In 2017 and 2019, Mnet's idol audition programs 'Idol School' and 'ProduceX101' ended in disgrace for the cast members' sweat and blood of 'manipulating live text voting'. All the production crew who led the voting manipulation incident were legally prosecuted. It is an incident that left a big scar on not only the viewers, but also the idol fandom and the trainees.


Politically speaking, gossip after voting inevitably entails a greater social cost than the cost of voting. Last month, protesters who disobeyed the presidential election in Brazil caused riots at the Presidential Palace, Congress, and the Supreme Court, and in January 2021, supporters of former US President Donald Trump broke into Congress dissatisfied with the results of the presidential election.


In a democracy, voting must be a secret ballot based on anonymity, but at the same time, there is a condition that it must be verifiable. It was because of this contradictory nature that Oh Hyun-ok (49), CEO of zkrypto, a professor at the Department of Information Systems at Hanyang University’s College of Engineering, was drawn to the vote while researching blockchain. CEO Oh said, “When I was thinking about ‘what are the areas where blockchain technology can be applied to make this world a better place,’ she didn’t hesitate and came up with a vote,” she said. CEO Oh's idea gained great sympathy at the site of CES 2023, the world's largest electronics exhibition held in Las Vegas, USA on the 5th (local time).


Oh Hyun-ok, CEO of zkrypto, is having an interview with the Segye Ilbo at the G-Crypto office of Hanyang University's Hanyang Institute of Technology (HIT) on the 19th. Reporter Lee Ji-min


On the 19th, CEO Oh, whom I met at the zkrypto office in Hanyang University’s Hanyang Institute of Technology (HIT), seemed to have lingering impressions of CES. zkrypto was selected as one of the 20 companies that won the Best Innovation Award at CES. At the opening ceremony on the first day, zKvoting, developed by the company, was singled out as one of the three technologies to solve the challenges facing the world. CEO Oh said, “I learned that we won the Best Innovation Award last November, but I was happy that our technology, which is not easy to understand, was first recognized abroad.” zkVoting is an online voting service based on blockchain technology. It is based on a technology called Zero-Knowledge Proof, which means that the prover proves that he knows the knowledge without disclosing the knowledge and information he knows. It is commonly used as a technology that can secure transaction transparency without revealing one's identity to the counterparty. If this is applied to voting, it is possible to verify whether the vote cast by the voter is valid even when the data is encrypted. Both anonymity and verifiability can be guaranteed. It received attention at CES, but CEO Oh said that the development of the service took place about four years ago. A beta test application (app) was released on the App Market five months ago, and now anyone can download it and use it for free.


Representative Oh has a wish, “I hope that the next generation will live in a better world than the current generation.” This was also the reason why he was selected for the 2020 Ministry of SMEs and Startups' preliminary start-up package (non-face-to-face) support project and started a business. The revenue model is taking shape. Representative Oh said, "We met with a famous American TV station PD several times at CES and decided to do a program using zkvoting technology together next year." If you say 50 won or 100 won, sales will be generated there.” Representative Oh predicted that if the program is broadcast as scheduled, it will record sales of over 100 billion won in the US alone. He observed that more opportunities abroad would arise in the future. CEO Oh said, “The demand for online voting technology abroad is greater,” citing the example of the intrusion into the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. “At the same time, the blockchain industry has only talked about cryptocurrencies, but I heard a lot of thanks for creating a practical blockchain technology that can be used in real life, not cryptocurrencies,” he explained the dynamics of its technology and democracy. “People say that our technology is not enough to change paper voting to online voting. But I think the world changes a lot when voting goes online. It costs a lot of money and time to prepare for voting, so you can't do it often. It is also the reason why members of the National Assembly practice representative democracy instead of the will of the people. What if we could vote more often? You can withdraw or strengthen your support for a member of parliament in real time. I think it may be possible to take a step closer to direct democracy or implement various forms of politics.”

Reporter Lee Ji-min aaaa3469@segye.com

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